Avanos Hair Museum – Avanos, Turkey - Atlas Obscura
It’s finally here! Download our iOS app and discover the world’s hidden wonders on the go!
It’s finally here! Download our iOS app and discover the world’s hidden wonders on the go! LAUNCH PARTNER

Avanos Hair Museum

Avanos, Turkey

Locks of women's hair adorn the walls of a cave/house/pottery center with a surprisingly touching origin. 


Avanos, a small town in the Cappodocian area of Turkey, has a history of ceramics and pottery dating back thousands of years. However, starting mere decades ago, a new site is generating interest.

A pottery center/guest house has created the Hair Museum. Calling it a museum may be a bit of a stretch as its “displays” are thousands of locks of hair, all from female visitors.

The story goes that the local potter was bidding farewell to a dear friend of his when he asked for something to remember her by. She cut off a piece of her hair to leave as a reminder. He put it up in his shop, and told the story to the visitors and tourists who passed through. Not to be outdone, other women who enjoyed the story left a piece of their hair as well.

The museum started in 1979 when a selection was put up for display. It now holds an estimated 16,000 samples by the museum’s own count and is included in the Guinness Book of World Records.

There’s a secondary reason to leave some hair as well – once or twice a year, winning locks of hair are chosen and the previous owners of the tresses get a message inviting them back for a stay in the connected guest house, and workshops with the master potter.

While the pottery and guest house remain active, the museum fills up a section of the shop where the earthen wares are stored. Visitors wander down the cave-like room with hair attached to every available surface. Pencils, paper, pins and scissors are offered to those wanting to add their own piece to the collection.